the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Hello Kitty

There is nothing as sad as seeing an old lover who has been hit by hard times.    Wasn’t it just yesterday when we first met, both of us young and naive, two individuals from different cultures, but with so much in common?

It was the summer of 1986.  You told me stories about your childhood in Tokyo.  I took you to my mother’s home for your first Passover seder.   We made love in Central Park.  You murmured like a cat as a stroked you, laughing and saying, “Hello Kitty.  Hello Kitty.”

Then, you moved back to the land of the Rising Sun, where success was waiting for you.  We knew this was your destiny.

You became a superstar, and stopped returning my calls.  I tried to forget you, but wherever I went, I saw your loving, trusting face — on lunchboxes, keychains, pencils.  Everyone loved you, but only I truly knew HOW to love you.


A few weeks ago, a blogger went on Twitter and asked what would happen if she stopped blogging.   Most begged her not to stop.   I tried to be helpful and gave another view.  “If you quit blogging, people will be sad, but within two weeks, everyone will have moved on.  Better to focus on those who really love you — your family and friends — because they will not abandon you.  Audiences are fickle.”   Others on Twitter called me cruel and hateful towards this fellow blogger, when I was just trying to speak the truth.

The truth IS that audiences are fickle.  Every few months there is a new superstar, a new flavor of the month, and then — like Meg Ryan — you stop getting the good movie roles.  Do we all have ADHD?  Are we bored so easily with each other?   How else to explain the constant look-out for something new?  Is there any other reason for a Kim Dardashian to be talked about other than a need to have some new useless celebrity around  for a few months?



I was in Manhattan yesterday when I saw her again.  At first, I didn’t recognize her.  Could this have been the same lover that I had once held so closely in 1986?  The same international icon, beloved by millions, but none more than me  — now wondering the streets of midtown Manhattan, alone and unrecognized?

But I recognized her.  I recognized the look in her eyes.   She asked me to join her for lunch.   She brought me to this unpretentious fast-food “soup cafe,” so completely unlike the five star restaurants that she had once visited as she traveled the world as a good-will ambassador, dining with rock stars and diplomats.


We talked about old times, the mistakes, the heartbreaks, the ups and the downs.  It was nice to catch up with my old friend, my passionate lover, but time becomes a wall, a barrier without a door, and after we finished our soup, it was time to go our separate ways again.

“Goodbye, Kitty,” I said.



  1. Marie

    Ah, the vicissitudes of fame! Hello, kitty; goodbye, kitty. Ain’t it a shame? Oh, look, there’s a shiny new blog over there–

  2. Vicki

    Hello Kitty at ABP. Just blew my mind.

  3. NeCole@Eclectic Ectasy

    ADHD and fickleness certainly are part of blogging, but another point to consider is that most of us add new blogs and new twitter friends frequently, and so keeping up with the growing volume becomes almost burdensome at times. I still read all the blogs in my list every day, but now I comment less frequently as there are so many more that I follow. That’s probably a good thing because I don’t just comment for the sake of commenting–I comment if I feel I can “add value” for the blogger/twitterer. This perspective has also caused me to add blogs and twitterers more slowly and cautiously. I often “blurk” for a while before I add, so that I can be sure I can appreciate that blogger/twitterer for the long-term. Then I try to apply the same principle that I have for my children. As the numbers grow larger, I don’t divide my love I multiply it. That requires dedication and an investment of time.

    The bottom line is that we need to look at all the statistical data combined with the comments. None of the statitistical values can stand alone. And the comments can’t stand alone and be a fair judgement of success or failure.

  4. kelly

    I wish I had seen that twitter. I would re-tweeted it. It is true. I hate people that say I’m gonna quit. They don’t mean it. They just want to be stroked, kinda like your little kitty.

  5. ACG

    no body missed me when i stopped blogging 🙁

  6. Jurgen Nation

    “‘If you quit blogging, people will be sad, but within two weeks, everyone will have moved on. Better to focus on those who really love you — your family and friends — because they will not abandon you. Audiences are fickle.'”

    I stopped blogging – I call it a hiatus now, but when I stopped I thought it was for good. As much as we don’t want it to be true, as much as we want to think every friendship we make online is real and won’t be forgotten, some of them are. I wish I would have seen that Tweet because I would have told that person that, whatever s/he chooses, be prepared. The loneliness is crushing. You blog for so long that your identity is somewhat dependent on the online world. When the emails dwindled and finally stopped altogether, I didn’t know what to do. I missed it. I missed everyone. And now, even though I know I needed time to have a quiet, private mental breakdown, I sort of wish I had done more to stay in the game. Now that I’m back, everyone has moved forward, moved on, made new friends. And it’s fine – I’m not bitching about it – it’s just weird thinking about the depth of emails exchanged with certain people that don’t even acknowledge me now. So, if the Tweeter is reading this, be sure it’s what you want and that you’re prepared should the same thing happen.

    Again, I don’t think any of us want to stop talking in the face of an absence, it’s just so hard sometimes to keep up unless your online friends are always milling around in your orbit in cyberspace. When someone falls out of the orbit, it gets harder and harder to keep up because IMO the entire framework of the friendship has changed. It’s hard enough to do that with friends in “real life” much less online. I just really miss everyone I used to talk to. So, Tweeter, listen to your heart about what you need at this moment (for me, not blogging a nervous breakdown), but be ready for the difficulty. It can get really lonely when you stop writing.

    Sorry to hijack, Neil.

  7. Danny

    Brilliant. I found this surprisingly moving, considering how much I hate, loathe, and despise “Hello Kitty” and everything she stands for.

  8. Heather

    I think you’re dead on. Nobody “really” cares do they? I mean, what happened before blogging? We still survived. Blogs are things to read…people telling you to buy stuff, pray for sick children, etc. There’s always something new and improved…but I think you should continue doing what you do best. Which is clearly, stalking Kitties. 😉

  9. Mindy

    I was supposed to be taking a nap but got sucked in by Kitty.
    I’ve oft felt defeated by the minimal number of comments left on my blog, then I remind myself WHY I have a blog in the first place.
    I do it for ME. Who cares if a person only spends one minute on the blog? It’s hard to not want to always have something compelling and life-changing for that person’s one minute, but then again, I’m not Ghandi.
    I sleep…going to nap now.

  10. Mindy

    p.s..people always comment on my pictures or stories entailing admittance of defeat,
    yet don’t quite know what to do with the poems.
    Perhaps they are uncomfortable with that glimpse into the recesses of my person?

  11. girlvaughn

    Hey did you know it was Hello Kitty’s 35, um, birthday!?

    Also, I agree with Mindy – blog for yourself not for others. it’s great if you find people that you connect with, and that is just an added bonus.

  12. maggie, dammit

    You’re talking about me, right?

    That was funny, because when I tweeted that, I meant it exactly how you took it. I meant what you said. I was trying to be rhetorical, I guess, in fewer than 140 characters. I was trying to say that I get it. That all these people I’m close to now would probably forget me pretty easily if they had to. I know because I’ve quit before. I honestly wasn’t fishing, I’m way past that now.

    So I completely agree with Jurgen Nation (who, by the way, I never forgot). And I hope I haven’t offended anyone I adore by saying what I did. It was basically a commentary on the current blogging craze, of which I am very much a big, happy part.

    I’m sorry everyone ganged up on you when you said it. Well, a little sorry. 😉

    Also, Hello Kitty frightens me.

  13. Denise

    From the looks of it, ms.kitty seems to be missing you already.

    And I don’t think all audiences are fickle, I think blog reading is a progression with ebbs and flows, but ultimately your getting a glimpse into someone else’s perspective, which I enjoy. I don’t typically have a flavor of the month, but I do continually add to my reader.

  14. Fran

    How funny – it feels like a brush with greatness that I can say “I remember that Twitter exchange!”

    Given my limited readership I suppose it’s easy for me to say that I think we *should* be able to walk away from all of these relationships if that is what we’re called to do.

    Does anyone really write because they’re worried they’ll be missed if they don’t? Hopefully all of the writers are writing to scratch that “itch.” Even if the product is a somewhat disturbing fantasy that involves Hello Kitty. I’d still come back later to see what else that creative mind has produced.

  15. threeboys1mommy

    You’re right they do forget you, and when you’re as bad as I was it only takes 2 days. Ironically, I received an e-mail today from an old reader, asking if I planned to continue blogging. No “Hey, how you doin’?”, just “Let me know if you stopped, so I can remove you from my blogroll.” Ouch!… Neil, buy me some soup.

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